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800 landslide victims to be resettled as govt completes construction of houses

Part of the view of the Bulambuli Resettlement where victims of Bududa landslide will be relocated (JMUCUNGUZI PHOTO)

KAMPALA – About 800 families who affected by mudslides in Bugisu sub-region will be resettled by the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) this month, a senior government official has revealed.

The Commissioner, Disaster Preparedness in the OPM, Mr Martin Owor said that construction of the houses under the Bulambuli Resettlement Scheme, Bulambuli District is complete pending handover to the beneficiaries.

The houses are on part of 1188 acre land that was acquired by the OPM to resettle more than 150,000 households from mudslide-prone areas around Mt Elgon.

“We are going to resettle some people but this is not the solution because more people are living in the risky mountainous areas. Revising the laws and policies on resettlement will also not solve the problem but building resilience among the people and educate them to know how to live with the disasters,” Mr Owor said.

Mr Owor attributed the severe effects of disasters to people who neglect the lives and early warnings.

“Disaster management starts with an individual to ensure their safety and people ought to revisit their livelihoods in order to stay safe for instance carrying out proper farming activities,” he added.

Mr Owor made the remarks at the launch of a policy brief on management of disasters in Uganda by Africa Leadership Institute (AFLI) and Uganda Management Institute in Kampala which asked the government to review the country’s disaster preparedness and management to cover the emerging trends in environmental safety.

According to the brief, Uganda’s policy on disaster preparedness is inadequate since it is not backed by strategies to detect new dynamics on public safety in regard to the environment.

“Parliament should regularly review the disaster preparedness and management laws to align them to the emerging vulnerabilities caused by social and environmental trends. Government and partner should fundraise to conduct risk mapping research and design appropriate tools and strategies for disaster preparedness,” said Mr Tobias Onweng, a Disaster Management Specialist and Researcher.

According to Mr Onweng, government should implement mandatory relocation of communities likely to be affected by natural disasters and introduce technology for detection and warning.

Reports indicate that in March 2010 the landslide slide disaster in Bududa District claimed lives of over 350 people and displaced more than 8000 persons. As a result, more than 2000 residents displaced by landslides in different villages in Bududa sought refuge in the nearby schools, churches and trading centres.

In 2011, a mudslide in Bulambuli District killed about 28 people while in 2012, a mudslide killed six people in Sironko District and another 18 were buried in Bududa District.

In October this year, a landslide disaster hit Bukalasi Sub County in BUduda District and claimed more than 54 lives, injured 33 and destroyed property worth in 13 villages leaving many displaced.

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